Jeff Watson

Ambient Storytelling for Vehicle-Driver Interaction

Contemporary automobiles contain a wide range of sensors and communication devices that serve a variety of safety and performance purposes. The “Ambient Storytelling for Vehicle-Driver Interaction” project explores how these systems can be integrated with cloud computing and social media services to make possible new modes of driver-to-vehicle and driver-to-driver interaction and engagement.

Lifelogging human-object relationships

Specifically, this project proposes methods that:

  • Deepen the relationship between driver and car by using aggregate sensor data, context and location sensing protocols, and social media feeds to develop a narrative “lifelog” for the vehicle and its driver(s);
  • Use sensor and lifelog data to create cinematic augmentations for the driving experience, including generative soundscapes, single- and multiplayer games, and driver-specific guided tours;
  • Develop the character or identity of the vehicle by employing usage metrics and driver feedback to modulate the rate, style, and mode of vehicle-to-driver communications; and,
  • Visualize the ecosystem of lifelog and character across a multitude of device contexts both inside and outside the vehicle, with an emphasis on touchscreen and gestural interfaces.


Michael Annetta, Emily Duff, Joshua McVeigh-Schultz, Jen Stein, Amanda Tasse, Jeff Watson, and Scott Fisher with Bryant Johnson and Cecilia Fletcher.

White Paper

Ambient Storytelling for Vehicle-Driver Interaction (.pdf)

ACM Multimedia 2012 Paper

Extending the lifelog to non-human subjects: ambient storytelling for human-object relationships (.pdf)
Also available at the ACM Digital Library.